The first stage of the Firefighter selection process is the application form. Over 75% of people fail at this stage. You must ensure that you provide EVIDENCE of where you meet each of the assessable qualities. If you follow this peice of advice you will have a far greater chance of progressing to the next stage.

Watch the following short video which will provide you with some great tips on how to complete the Firefighter Application form.


The application form is one of the first stages of the firefighter selection process and it is probably the hardest to get through. You will be applying along with many hundreds of other applicants and therefore your application form needs to be outstanding.

Before we move on to how you should consider completing the form, read the following two important notes:

1. Firefighters do not generally retire before their determined retirement date. The reason for this is because it is an exceptional job. Fire Services rarely advertise firefighter posts, so the competition is very fierce when firefighter vacancies do eventually become available. Therefore your application needs to be very good.

2. Picture the scene – a Fire Service assessor has been marking application forms for the last two weeks. It is late Friday afternoon and they come across your application form. Your application form is hard to read, full of grammar errors and is incomplete in a number of sections. Do you think the form will get through? The answer is no.

It is crucial that your application form is concise, easy to read, neat, and completed in all the relevant sections. Take your time to complete a solid application. If you have the time, spend a week completing the form and answer the assessable questions in draft first before committing pen to paper. If you are completing an online application then complete your responses in draft first using notepad or a similar tool.

Let’s take a look at some of the important elements of planning for the firefighter application form:

- I will make sure that I read all of the information contained within the guidance notes before I start to complete the application form. I will also highlight the key areas within the guidance notes that I must follow. If I do not follow the guidance notes carefully then my application may be rejected.

- When writing my application I will make sure that it is easy to read, concise and that it answers the questions exactly as required. It is my job to make the application form easy to mark. If the assessor has been marking scores of applications, then I want to make it easy for them.
When completing your application form keep a copy of the above points next to you so that they act as an important reminder.


Pre-application checklist
You may find that the firefighter application form includes a pre-application checklist. This is quite straightforward to complete and usually involves a tick box section.

The first checklist involves questions such as:

Are you prepared to:
-Work at height?

-Work in enclosed spaces?

-Work outdoors?

-Get wet during your work?

-Get hot / cold whilst working?

-Carry heavy equipment?

-Work unsociable hours?

-Work in situations where you may see blood, seriously injured, or dead people?

-Deal sensitively with people in difficult situations?

-Work with a diverse range of people (e.g. of different ages, ethnic backgrounds etc)?

Those candidates who tick NO to any of the above questions are unlikely to proceed to the next stages of the selection process.

The next part of the form is usually the personal details section. Once again this is straightforward to complete. The only advice that I can provide you with here is to be honest. Any false or misleading information may deem your application void.

Assessment of personal qualities
This section is designed to assess your personal qualities and attributes against that of a firefighter. When responding to the questions in this section you can draw on any of your experiences either from your home life, leisure activities, work (paid or unpaid) or education.

The questions are usually divided into 3 parts as follows:
-What you did.
-Why you did it.
-What happened as a result of your actions?

Advice on answering the questions that relate to the personal qualities
- Take your time when completing the questions and follow the advice contained within the section. Remember our ‘plan’!

- Remember that you are competing against many other candidates, so take your time to get it right.

- Use recent examples when responding to the questions.

- Try to use ‘keywords’ in your responses that relate to the PQAs.

- Make sure that you answer EVERY question.

- Do not go over the allocated ‘word count’.

- Be specific about one particular scenario.

- Write down your answers in rough first.

- Remember to photocopy the application form before sending it off. You may need to refer to it before attending your interview.

- Make sure your handwriting is neat and legible. Get someone to read it back to you once completed. If they struggle to read any words or sentences then so will the person assessing your form.

- Read the completed application form carefully before sending it off. The competition is fierce and you need to ensure that you stay ahead of the other candidates, most of who will not be as prepared as you.

I have now provided a sample question and answer to assist you in responding to the PQA based questions.

Describe a situation where you have worked with people who are different from you in relation to age, background or gender.

This question has been designed to assess your ability to work with others regardless of their background, age or gender. The Fire Service is a diverse workforce and therefore it requires people who have the ability to work in such an environment.

When answering this question, try to think of an occasion when you have worked with people who are different from you in terms of age, background or gender.
Remember to be specific in your response, relating it to a particular situation.
Do not be generic in your response. An example of a generic response would be – ‘I am comfortable working with people from different backgrounds and have done this on many occasions’. This type of response is not specific and does not relate to a situation. Make sure you have a copy of the firefighter PQAs next to you when responding to this question and try to include keywords in your response.
Now take a look at the example response.

Describe a situation where you have worked with people who are different from you in relation to age, background or gender. (Maximum of 150 words)

Whilst working in my current role as a sales assistant I was tasked with working with a new member of the team. The lady had just started working with us and was unfamiliar with the role. She was from a different background and appeared to be very nervous. I tried to comfort her and told her that I was there to support her through her first few working days and help her get her feet under the table.

I fully understood how she must have felt. It was important that I supported her and helped her through her first few days at work. We are there to help each other regardless of age, background or gender.

The lady settled into work well and is now very happy in her role. We have been working together for 3 months and have built up a close professional and personal relationship.



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